Thanksgiving started early at the Shortarmguy House when Grandma Linda came over Sunday for a scrumptious feast! We enjoyed Mock Turkey provided from possibly the greatest Bird Chef in all of history, Colonel Sanders. It sure was Yummy!
On Wednesday, Grandpa Bob and Grandma Joyce made the trek up to see us from Missouri. They encountered blizzard like conditions between Kansas City and Des Moines which provided a little extra excitement for them on their trip, but they arrived with smiles ready to enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving with us!
We also had a little bit of snow which made for a very festive holiday. It wasn’t a bunch of the white stuff, but just enough for Avery to make a couple of snowballs and for Luke to create a very shallow Snow Angel in our driveway.
On Thanksgiving day, Miss Sheri prepared us a most fine meal! She took a page out of Grandma Haack’s Cook Book and cooked our turkey in a bag which helps keep all the moisture close to the bird. It was a successful tactic because when we went to carve it, the tender flesh nearly fell off the bone. I sure do love wet meat!
After the meal, we decided to take the dogs for a walk to the lake. I guess Grandpa and Grandma have spent too many winters in the South, because as we walked down the street, they really began belly-aching about how cold it was. I tried to explain to them that it was still 20 degrees outside and it was going to get a heck of a lot worse in Minnesota before it gets any better, but this didn’t seem to help. They decided to turn around and head back to the warm house rather than continue on the walk with us.
The lake hasn’t frozen quite yet, although we have seen sheets of ice out there just beginning to form. We didn’t see anyone out there on boats, but there could have been. We just didn’t look that hard.
Sunny doesn’t ever seem to be affected by cold weather. That dog just loves to swim as long as there’s liquid water. He hops right in and lays down just the same as if it were the middle of July. He literally had icicles growing all over his body when we were ready to go, but he still didn’t want to leave. Silly animal.
It’s hard to believe we’re back to the Christmas Season again. Where does all the time go? It seems like just yesterday that we were sneaking over to out neighbors’ houses for Halloween and smashing their pumpkins. Just kidding, neighbors.
We maintained our Holiday Tradition by participating in the annual Black Friday line waiting festivities. We didn’t get as crazy as some this year since we slept in until 4 am and arrived our first store just before 5. We waited in line and then sprinted to the bargains with the other silly people who find this to be a fun thing to do. We pretty much got everything we wanted except for our dignity back.
It was the first time to get up early and go Black Friday shopping for these four. But they joined the mob throwing elbows and ripping bargains out of other shopper’s hands like seasoned pros. I was so proud of them!!
My father spent his time in the store spreading his usual Holiday Cheer as can be witnessed by noticing the nice lady standing directly behind him.
I’ve had several requests for T-shirts based on my new tattoo design, so I re-vamped the Shortarmguy Store to add merchandise featuring this incredible work of art from Chris Garver. I ordered one for myself to verify the logo looks good on the black shirt and I think it looks nice. CafePress puts out some really nice merchandise!!
I spent the week in Reno, Nevada attending SC07 which is the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis. Basically, it’s a huge convention center filled with a bunch of really big computers with lots and lots of pretty lights flashing. I assume there’s some other stuff happening on the inside of the boxes, but I found myself quite fascinated by the pretty flashing lights.
There’s also a lot of really smart people walking around learning about all the latest advancements in Super Computers. The attendees at this conference are trying to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems. We met people from NASA, The Department of Defense, about three dozen different universities, and about a hundred different big technology companies. It was a really cool experience!!
We were there showing off Nor-tech’s Portable Cluster which is the ideal solution for onsite Super Computing. Traditionally Super Computers have been confined to big data centers, but our solution is portable, ruggedized, and energy efficient enough that scientists and engineers can take it with them to the job site so they can do their work immediately. Plus, this machine downloads dirty pictures off the internet really, really fast
We brought a pretty rowdy Nor-tech crew with us to Nevada. Although we worked hard schmoozing the crowds during the day, we also worked pretty hard at night schmoozing the waitresses and blackjack dealers at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. After my first night in Reno went a little too late, I had to work hard the next day schmoozing my tummy. It didn’t really work, though, because my tummy stayed mad at me pretty much the whole rest of the time I was there! He’s just so dang sensitive some times!
Dom “The Dominator” Daninger is Nor-tech’s resident genius and the architect of our Portable Cluster. Dom is seen here doing a presentation on the product at the Microsoft Theater in the center of the show. Dom also spoke to groups at a dinner event Microsoft hosted as well as at a general session within the conference center. He also spent a lot of time talking to me in the booth which I thought was nice.
Nor-tech’s HPC Cluster Specialist is a man named Tom Morton. Although he spent most of his day working the scientists and engineers that came to our booth, he did find a little time to stroke his inner rock star at another booth playing the WII version of Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock. Tom sure could work those buttons!! I thought it was pretty cool until he insisted that I start calling him Eddie Van Halen for the rest of the trip. I thought that was a bit much.
Our Microsoft rep, Eric Norha, accompanied us for the trip. Eric’s hard work led us to have our Portable Cluster running Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition featured in the Microsoft booth. When we weren’t hard at work at the show, Eric and I would sneak in to other cluster manufacturer’s booths and unplug their machines. We’d then start loudly exclaiming to anyone walking by, “What a piece of junk that one is! It doesn’t even look like it works!”
This is John Roberts. He’s our Sony storage rep and was kind enough to journey to the show to support us in our booth. John fits in real well with the Nor-tech guys, because he likes to tease me almost as much as my co-workers do! But unlike my co-workers, John is nearly 8 feet tall. So whenever he gives me a hard time I just smile and say “That sure is funny!”
This is Gene Patino. He works for a memory manufacturer that sells to Nor-tech. I discovered at the show that he’s also the son of one of my oldest and dearest customers, a man named Charlie Patino. I no longer sell to Charlie, but seeing Gene brought back a bunch of memories. Most of them involving Charlie’s jokes which are too vulgar to be repeated here!
On our last day in Reno, Dom did a portable cluster presentation to about forty attentive attendees. I can’t really think of anything funny that happened at the event, but I enjoyed Dom’s silhouette in this photo so much that I wanted to include this picture. Nice profile, Dom.
We had a very lame week in Shortarmguyville. On Monday night, we went to Underwater Adventures for what will most likely be our last time in a long time. Our membership expired this week and we’ve chosen not to renew it since there’s only so many times you can gain joy from looking at the same turtles, fish, and sharks without starting to get big desires to break the glass just to see what would happen.
The boys did get an eyeful upon encountering the turtle tank. Miss Sheri and I were walking behind them so we didn’t quite know what they laughing about when we walked up to see. Once I saw it, Luke exclaimed “Look, dad. One of them is giving the other one a piggy back ride!” I pulled out the classic “No, son. I think the one on the bottom is sick and the other one is pushing him to the hospital!”: That joke just never gets old!
It’s taken me quite a bit of coaxing and convincing plus a little bit of begging, but I finally think I’ve convinced Miss Sheri to enjoy beavers as much as I do. There was a time in my life when I never thought that would happen.
It’s a little hard to get Avery to walk through the underwater tunnel through the shark tank. Not that he’s scared or anything. He just suddenly gets these strange urges to try to impersonate Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone and no matter what we do to him, he just won’t stop.
While we were in the tunnel, Luke suddenly started freaking out complaining about “leaking noises”. He was convinced there was a leak in the tunnel and we needed to get out quickly. I tried to explain to him that we’re all going to die some day and if we have to go, wouldn’t it be cool to have our way be to have Underwater World crash down on us as we walked through the tunnel? For some reason, this didn’t make him feel any better so I finally had to tell him the leaking noises were just “Grandma Gas”. That made him happier.
Speaking of Grandma, we thought we lost her after we came to the end of the tunnel and she wasn’t with us. I walked back only to discover her embracing this old Diver Suit which was a replica from the movie 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. I tried to convince her there wasn’t a man inside, but she just didn’t want to listen.
Our lame week continued we went to the Outback on Friday night to have one of their succulent steaks.
Nothing funny happened while we were there. Nothing memorable. No good pictures. How the heck is a guy supposed to continue updating a silly little website when he has boring weeks like this?
We had a very exciting Halloween as our little evil creatures explored the neighborhood going from house to house begging for candy. They collected way too many sweets and treats leaving nasty temptations for mom and dad who have serious candy control issues. Every time we walk by that orange bowl holding every chocolate bar known to man, we have to restrain ourselves from going over and burying our faces right into it..
On Saturday, we put the boys to work in the backyard raking leaves and cleaning up Sunny’s poop piles. I paid them twenty five cents for every pile discarded which actually worked out quite well. I wish I would have discovered the benefits of child laborers years ago, because there’s a lot of disgusting tasks I’ve done in my life that I’d have happily paid a quarter a pop to have done for me!
It wasn’t all about hard work in the back yard as the boys also enjoyed jumping into the pile of leaves they created. Lucky they picked up the Sunny poop first else rolling around on the ground might not have been as nearly as pleasant!
On Saturday night, we attended the Minnesota Golden Gophers Homecoming game against the Illinois Fighting Illini. It wasn’t a very pretty game as the home town team was trounced 44-17. I’m guessing any alumni coming home for this game didn’t enjoy things too much, but we had a great time!
We went as guests of my customer and friend, Ameet Shah. He has a suite on the 50 yard line which was incredibly cool except for that whole Gophers getting crushed part. Mr. Shah also had several bottles of Captain Morgan awaiting us which tended to blur my recollections of much of the evening.
We were all given these fun pom poms when we entered the stadium. They sure got us into the cheering spirit. Miss Sheri discovered that if you run your fingers through the plastic strands, they became charged with static electricity causing them to float around each other in a ghostly manner. It was almost scary to watch making us laugh heartily that this year we were able to celebrate Halloween twice in the same week! Then we hooked arms and danced in circles leaping with joy at the thought of the spooky pom poms!
My buddy and co-worker, Bob Dreis, happened to wander by the suite as he walked around the Metrodome trying to avoid the debacle on the field. The discussion somehow turned to the fact that I grew up in Iowa and had once attended the University of Iowa, a Big 10 rival of the Gophers. At that point, Ameet decided I needed to support the home town team more and made me wear his jacket. Not sure if it helped much though because I think the Fighting Illini scored another touchdown right after I put it on!
Halftime was a lot of fun though as we were entertained by the Minnesota Marching Band. It was really cool! Although I really couldn’t figure out why they made this large W in their Grand Finale…
After the game was over, we made our way down to the field to try to get some fun pictures. I don’t know what I said or did, but suddenly the whole team walked over and then stopped on the field looking up at us. I thought this was a very cool thing to do and waved at all of them to acknowledge their greeting. Such nice boys them Gophers.